Sheridan's Army

Campaign Created by: Katie Draz Campbell

The funds from this campaign will be received by Sheridan Draz.

Raised: USD $ 3,885

Sheridan is a 22-year-old Minnesota National Guard soldier. He recently returned from deployment serving in the Gulf War on Terrorism in October 2020. He served under the 34th ECAB Red Devils in Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield. He enlisted at age 17 as a junior at Mahtomedi High School. His dream was to serve his State and Nation, and ultimately retire from the Army someday.  In May of 2021, life as Sheridan knew it changed forever. A freak leg break resulted in the diagnosis of high-grade metastatic osteosarcoma. Since then, he was forced to relocate, and he spends most of his days undergoing chemotherapy at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. On August 30th, he underwent a surgery to have a donor bone placed in his right leg to remove his broken disease-ridden tibia. They took a skin graft from his hip to close the wound. Unfortunately, during that surgery, his main leg artery was breached resulting in an emergency vascular intervention to save his life. Chemo infusions resumed shortly after his surgery and resulted in acute kidney injuries, cardiomyopathy, and a myriad of other life altering side effects. In December, a routine chest x-ray revealed numerous spots in his lungs. He was then scheduled for surgical biopsy and had a wedge resection of his lung. The lung nodule removed proved that the disease has progressed to his lungs and that the chemo was no longer effective. A subsequent PET scan provided further evidence of new bone metastasis (cancer spread). In January he began a new chemotherapy treatment. The side effects continue to leave him hospitalized more frequently and he requires blood and platelet transfusions.

Given the aggressive nature of osteosarcoma and the rapid progression of the disease, we are raising money to research every life-saving measure available. 

UPDATES

Rough start to the New Year
January 4, 2023
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Yesterday, Sheridan had unfathomable pain. This pain was beyond anything he has ever experienced. More pain than a leg break, more pain than a donor bone reconstruction, more pain than an amputation, more pain than the mind-bending effects of having devastating news hiding behind every corner, more pain than finding out his cancer spread multiple times, more pain than finding out the leg that was amputated was cancer free, more pain than feeling let down by the people he trusted the most, more pain than having catastrophic organ failure and septic shock, more pain than having every hope and dream crushed over and over and over, more pain than knowing his kidneys had failed, more pain than having massive fluid restrictions and a highly limited diet, more pain than having poison injected into him time and time again. I could go on and on. This pain was without words, sheer suffering on steroids, and rendered him unable to execute the simplest task.

Coincidentally, this sudden onset of pain was timed out with his PET scan and oncology visit to begin the oral chemo drug to suppress the new areas of cancer growth in his lungs. The timing was nothing short of a miracle. It was a whirlwind of events. We were sat down, we were shown an image of his lungs. We were shown his whole right lung was completely “full” and his heart displaced into his left rib cage. This conversation came with a lot of other concerning information.

They listened to his chest and there were no breath sounds from his right lung at all. There were a lot of assumptions made as to what was in the lung and why, but the bottom line was emergent surgery had to happen. The surgeon cleared his schedule and had him whisked away immediately. Sheridan opted to stay awake for the surgery, with the hopes of being released the same night, under the best of circumstances.

The surgeon's initial thought was he would be draining leaking cancer fluid from the most recent tumors in his right lung lining. The alternate thought was far more dire. The surgery took less than 2 hours, leaving me to believe that it was routine and went well. As the alternative discussed meant the potential of removing a ruptured tumor or far far worse.

The surgeon sat with me and proceeded to share what he equated to "really bad" news. I was shocked to hear that not only did they drain off two liters of blood, but they still were left guessing what the cause was. He was unable to blindly assess where the blood had come from, nor proceed to do any exploratory surgery, as he might in a patient without such a complex condition. We briefly chatted about “what if” scenarios, and the consequences. He assured me he had several ideas, but he could not pursue anything until the remaining blood was addressed/drained. This left Sheridan admitted to the hospital with a chest tube that has now set actual records to how much blood they have removed, and he still continues to drain.

The "plan", always subject to change, is to get a CT scan before being discharged. The hope is this diagnostic tool will reveal all that was hidden in the PET scan by the full lung of blood. It will be telling if there will be a need for part or all of the lung to be surgically removed. If it is found to be outside the lung, there are far fewer options.

Even in the best case, surgical intervention would not be the resolution for the cancer. That is the place where only miracles and God can dictate.

The above doesn't even begin to encompass the mental toughness and fortitude it takes to power through. I don't think it is easily understood how substantially Sheridan's cancer has impacted his life. That is not to say hope is lost or miracles do not happen, but the reality of his day-to-day life is quite cruel. People's assumptions, expectations, and or well-intentioned gestures, truthfully can be very harmful. The saying "there are no words" really rings true.

The truth is he is a fierce, valiant, strong fighter. He has walked through so many levels of hell, that your average person cannot even fathom the extent of just one. He has faced imminent death and lives to tell the story and slay another day. His truth is he was diagnosed with a cancer that had already spread upon diagnosis. That spread, the rarity of the disease, and the lack of research and funding left him with a devastating prognosis straight out of the gate. All that said, he hasn't given up. He has plans, goals, and dreams. He pushes through the hardest days. He is my hero. I admire his strength and will stand proudly beside him every step of the way.

New Year
December 24, 2022
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Monday, January 2, 2023, Sheridan will have another PET scan. At that time, he will begin daily oral chemotherapy in hopes to suppress growth.

In the meantime, he is completing 8 hours a day of dialysis at home. His appetite is just starting to increase, but his diet is very limited.

Prayers the New Year brings much-needed health, healing, good news, and miracles!

Keep praying
December 8, 2022
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Dialysis training is complete and will begin at home tomorrow. It has taken its toll on Sheridan. Being on dialysis has reduced the foods he is able to eat, so he is still adjusting to the suggested diet changes. It has decreased his appetite substantially and caused significant weight loss. His nausea has reduced though, so we are hopeful with time he will get back his appetite and regain needed weight.

As far as cancer treatments, his team is calling the disease spread non-curative. At this point, he has a couple chemotherapy options that are compatible with him having kidney failure. These chemo’s have their own side effects and are used in hopes to reduce/slow new growth. His surgeon implied he would be willing to work with his lungs, should Sheridan follow through, and the treatment be effective. At this point, Sheridan has opted not to make any definitive choice on if he will pursue further therapies.

Please pray for wisdom and discernment for Sheridan. We all want what is best for him, and only he can make the decision that he feels is right.

He is loved beyond any words can express, and miracles happen every day. I pray it be God’s will that he receives that miracle.

PRAY
November 29, 2022
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Struggling to find words.  The results from the chest CT today were unsettling.  Unfortunately, the cancer has grown and spread substantially throughout both of the lungs.  The doctors are no longer going to pursue any surgical intervention.  

No further news or decisions on additional chemotherapy treatment are being made at this time.

PRAY

November 11, 2022
November 12, 2022
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The only consistent thing on this journey is that the plan is always changing. 

Sheridan’s surgery was delayed on Friday and ended up going longer than expected. He was adamant that he wanted to recover at home and happily went home Friday night. Since then, it has been a slow recovery with varying degrees of discomfort. Luckily his labs have not changed drastically since the surgery, yet they have proven dire enough that an urgent dialysis start is warranted. 

Sheridan has the weekend to think it through and agree, so he can start in-center dialysis for the next week or possibly two. He will not be waiting the healing period or begin his training for home dialysis, as previously expected, or any time soon.

Additionally, Sheridan’s lung surgical plans have changed as well. His team has acknowledged waiting until the new year was too risky. They plan to complete a new scan (TBD) and move forward with the surgeries. The first lung surgery is scheduled for December 1st, thus affecting when Sheridan can start the at-home dialysis training. The second surgery is tentatively planned to be shortly before Christmas.

Sheridan ultimately has the final say in all these procedures. We need all your energy focused on giving Sheridan physical and mental strength to power through what’s needed to keep his kidneys and body thriving, unchanged/improved scans, and successful surgeries. Prayers up!


Surgery day
November 4, 2022
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After much contemplation, delay, and consulting, Sheridan is being hospitalized to have his peritoneal dialysis line placed tomorrow. He will not be having his lung surgeries at this time, as the risk was determined too great, and they want his kidneys healthier to undergo the thoracotomies. If all goes as planned, January and February would be likely for the lung surgeries.

As far as dialysis, ten days of healing need to pass before he can begin dialysis. At that time, he will attend two weeks of hands-on classes, and then he will be able to begin dialysis daily at home.

Please keep the positivity flowing and the healing prayers coming.

Next steps
October 12, 2022
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Sheridan’s kidneys have worsened.  The doctor has said she no longer feels comfortable waiting to begin dialysis.  She said, as with any vital organ, this is a true matter of life or death.  He will be scheduled for emergent surgery to have a line placed in hopes of starting peritoneal dialysis.  

The question of kidney transplant has been brought up.  Sheridan will have to be considered cancer free for two years (one year if an exception is made), in order to be eligible to be added to a transplant list.  The doctor implied a ‘live’ donor would really be ideal in his situation and give him the best outcome.

For Sheridan to be considered “cancer free”, he will have to have the remaining calcified nodules in his lungs removed.  The original plan, all along, was to have two separate lung surgeries.  This would start the clock, assuming no further cancer reoccurrences happen.  Sheridan is still contemplating how he feels about these surgeries, the procedure, and hospitalization.

Keep the prayers coming!


More waiting...
September 16, 2022
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The PET scan was stable, so we celebrate this win! There was some activity noted at his amputation site, that they feel is only due to the surgery and possibly the use of his long-awaited prosthetic. The lung nodules remain stable, and the radiated lesions are now also stable.

His kidneys are now at stage 5 chronic kidney disease. The doctor said it is always good to have hope, but that he would be surprised if Sheridan did not require dialysis in the coming weeks or months. They intend to monitor him weekly and intervene if/when Sheridan’s body no longer supports any renal function.

Going forward, there is still coordination needed that was put on hold until the results of the PET scan was completed. The primary focus is the kidneys, at this moment. The surgeon, nephrologist, and oncology team will be discussing timing the two lung surgeries. There is concern that the kidneys alone will completely fail with any further surgery. It is not guaranteed, but the largest risk.

Additionally, it is still likely immunotherapy may be started soon. This still is an ongoing discussion, due to the kidney implications. It may not enter the picture until surgeries are completed.

Standing on faith, more miracles are still in the works!

Waiting...
September 9, 2022
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Next Monday is Sheridan's PET scan.  We are keeping the faith for stability or improvement!  Chemo, lung surgeries, and immunotherapy are all on the table, and will likely be mapped out after reviewing the results.

Sheridan's kidney function has continued to worsen.  We want nothing more than improvement, so he can avoid dialysis.  Also, renal function impacts several cancer treatment options, so we NEED this! 

Send healing energy out and prayers up!  We are ready for our next miracle! 

What's next?
August 13, 2022
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Sheridan has 3 radiation treatments left next week.  So far he has tolerated the treatments well, with no significant side effects to date.  Unfortunately, his kidneys have not continued to improve and he is considered to have stage 4 chronic kidney disease.  There is concern that he will end up with end-stage renal disease and require regular dialysis if there isn't marked improvement very soon.  Please pray that his kidneys make a substantial turn around right away!

Up next will be another PET scan, sometime in the first two weeks of September.  At that time, decisions will be made regarding potential lung surgeries and available chemo options, given his kidney function.

We are still fighting insurance to have a permanent prosthetic approved, in order to give Sheridan the same mobility he had prior to being diagnosed with cancer.  Keep the thoughts and prayers coming!

Radiation, casting, and prosthetics
July 20, 2022
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Today Sheridan is having a CT simulator scan, in preparation for radiation. He will be completing one cycle of SBRT radiation on his left leg femur head and then one cycle on his spine. This will all occur over the first few weeks of August.  

After this is completed, Sheridan will have another PET scan. A plan will be made for the lung surgeries, assuming all goes as planned. We are believing in it!! His lung nodules were stable at last week’s chest CT, which was very reassuring.

There is no plan forward, as far as immunotherapy or chemo, yet. Discussions remain in the works, and anything is possible. We are marching forward with the thought between the radiation and surgeries, that the disease will be eradicated, and wholeheartedly believing and praying for the long-term future.

On Monday, Sheridan’s remaining portion of his right leg was cast by the prosthetist. This Friday, he will have his initial fitting. This is exciting forward progress. We are still waiting for the insurance to approve the prosthetic leg he needs to resume normal function.

Keep the prayers and positive energy flowing!!

Life after amputation
June 25, 2022
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Sheridan's stitches are out now and he is continuing the healing process at home.  The wound is healing well, so far.  He is wearing a compression sock for the next few weeks, in order to prepare for casting for a prosthetic to be made.  We are hopeful insurance will cover the costs of the prosthetic, as we originally had no idea what the out-of-pocket cost would look like if he had to pay, or how it would affect his quality of life.  The prosthetic he needs costs almost as much as an exotic car. 

Phantom pains are a part of Sheridan's daily life.  Each hour is different, some more manageable than others.  Yet, he still continues to push through and adapt, each new day.  He is determined to thrive and has a will of steel.

We are looking forward to his upcoming oncology appointment this Thursday, in hopes that the next steps will be planned.  Time is crucial with osteosarcoma and there are still many unknowns and much at stake.  

Keep lifting Sheridan up!  He is a warrior and continues to defy every odd set before him!  We're going to keep moving forward!  

Amputation day
June 6, 2022
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Sheridan's right leg will be amputated above the knee tomorrow.  Please keep holding space for him!  Cover the surgeons and Sheridan with prayers, love, and light, for a successful, uncomplicated surgery and recovery!  

There is a long road of unknowns, especially over the next few months.  Keep those positive vibes coming that his kidney function continues to heal and that the doctors are divinely led, as they make future surgical, chemo, immunotherapy, and radiation decisions.  

He has overcome so much, in such a short time!  Let this be yet another chapter in Sheridan proving miracles continue to happen every day! 

Never ceases to amaze!
May 27, 2022
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Sheridan is back home now, and his stamina and mobility continue to increase each day. He still has recovering to do, but all things considered, he is doing really well!

Sheridan's PET scan results came in yesterday and were a step in the right direction. Many areas showed improvement. Only one small new small spot was noted in his right lung. That being said, a newly revised plan has been set in motion.
 
Instead of starting a new chemo regimen right away, Sheridan will get some more time for his kidneys to continue to recover. As of now, there continues to be no need for dialysis and they will be scheduling to remove his dialysis line, likely next week.

Sheridan will be meeting with his orthopedic surgeon in the coming week to schedule his amputation and make decisions about how dramatic the amputation will be. At a minimum, it will be above the knee. The surgery will be taking place in the next 2 weeks, give or take.

He will have an MRI with contrast, once he has more marked improvement of his kidneys. This will determine if radiation will be completed on his spine and left leg femur, or if additional surgical interventions or stronger line chemo will be required.

Going forward Sheridan will also continue to have regular chest CTs to monitor the existing and new spot in his lungs. The tentative plan will eventually be another PET scan to re-evaluate when lung surgeries will be scheduled.    

Keep those prayers and positive energy coming, especially as amputation approaches and for the healing and adjustment period thereafter!!!! 

Miracles!
May 8, 2022
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Miracles, upon miracles, upon miracles! 

If there is one thing I can attest to, Sheridan's warrior spirit and tenacity are remarkable! He went from every vital organ failing and having mechanical support to sustain life, to breathing, unprecedented organ recovery, and sitting here today. 

It has been the longest 16 days that have been overwhelming on every front. For every catastrophic low, there have been so many amazing moments that doctors implied were nearly impossible. For every tear shed, there have been miraculous feats accomplished. For every medical professional that led to disappointment, there have been divinely appointed servants to step in and lead the charge. 

I am so thankful for those who are truly dedicated to their craft and genuinely showed compassion and empathy. It definitely makes a huge difference in care, and it was those few that restored my faith! 

We are anxiously praying and waiting for him to achieve the goals set for him to finally come home. He has substantial healing to do, but he is doing it!!!!! Please keep all the prayers and positivity flowing! We never thought we could be that close to losing him, and now we celebrate every milestone reached! 

Please pray that his kidneys rapidly recover and his body continues to heal so he can regain his strength.  My momma heart is clinging to hope that if he can return from sepsis, nearly taking his life and shutting down every vital organ, that maybe just maybe, it can kill the cancer too! 

There is a long road ahead, but I have faith! If this horrific event taught me one thing, truly ANYTHING is possible, and I believe it!

FIGHTING!!!!
April 27, 2022
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Sheridan is a fighter and the strongest person I know. He has been through so much in his 22 years and he is fighting one more battle, as I type. Sheridan went neutropenic, spiking a fever, and in need of blood products due to chemo side effects, on Saturday. He went into septic shock due to a bacterial infection in his blood. He was taken by ambulance and is currently in the ICU. All life-sustaining organs have been in active failure. 

Today we are slowly crawling in a better direction. He is fighting with everything in him! Please send all the positivity, love, light, vibes, and prayers!!!! He truly is a warrior!!! If anyone can overcome this, IT IS HIM!!! He is on dialysis, on a ventilator, and receiving a multitude of interventions to support his heart.

To continue to follow his story, you can watch for updates on his website – www.sheridansarmy.com 

We still intend to make his benefit on May 7th the biggest and best we can, to show him all the love and support he deserves! He was so looking forward to seeing the community, the cars, and K9s! We have every intention of still making that day as successful as possible, so we can record everyone and every moment to share with him! You can reference his FB event page – Sheridan’s Benefit - for more details and parking for the car show and attendees.

If you can, please consider attending! We are hopeful for beautiful weather and a great presence of military, LEOs, Fire, and every form of domestic and foreign car and K9s!!!! It would mean the world to see an overwhelming amount of people to support him! 

If you cannot attend, we would greatly appreciate a donation to help continue this fight. Every dollar counts right now and the road ahead will require a lot of support. 


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